Oilers 9, Blackhawks 2
The Edmonton Oilers didn't just break their four-game losing streak, they smashed it to pieces.
Taylor Hall had a hat trick, Jordan Eberle had a goal and three assists, and rookie Ryan Nugent-Hopkins set up five goals for the Oilers, who ended their skid in a big way with a 9-2 rout of the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday night.
Ales Hemsky, Ryan Jones, Ryan Smyth, Tom Gilbert and Shawn Horcoff also scored for the Oilers (10-7-2), and Nikolai Khabibulin moved into a 19th-place tie with Sean Burke on the NHL career wins list.
''It definitely gives us confidence,'' said Hall, who hadn't scored in nine games. ''It's great we won all three periods. It's easy to let off the gas pedal, but we didn't.''
The last time the Oilers had three players with four points in a game was Jan. 30, 1991, when Mark Messier, Petr Klima and Steve Smith did it.
''It was fun to see the guys enjoying themselves,'' Oilers coach Tom Renney said. ''This was a big game for us under the circumstances.
''Chicago is a good hockey club. I'm not sure you are going to see something like this happen to them again this season.''
Patrick Sharp and Dave Bolland had goals for the Blackhawks (12-6-3), who have lost two in a row following a four-game winning streak.
''We are all embarrassed,'' Chicago captain Jonathan Toews said. ''At the same time we are going to stick together and remain a team and not point the finger at any one guy or another. We are going to have to find a way to move on. We know our effort has to be way better. The way we played these last two nights was completely unacceptable.''
Ray Emery allowed seven goals to the Oilers and took much of the blame on himself.
''It's personally embarrassing,'' he said. ''I want to play better than that. We have to remember how bad this feels because we don't want it to happen again.''
Edmonton took a 1-0 lead when Hemsky was a one-man show, skating past a pair of defenders and scoring his first of the season on Emery just 48 seconds in. It was Hemsky's 400th career NHL point.
Chicago tied it 2 minutes later on a power play when Sharp banked in a rebound off Khabibulin.
The Oilers regained the lead 6 minutes into the first when Jones threw a hopeful backhand on net that somehow got past Emery.
Less than two minutes later Edmonton made it 3-1. Eberle made a beautiful backhanded pass to Smyth at the side of the net for an easy tap-in and his 11th goal of the season. The Oilers' third goal on nine shots prompted Chicago to pull Emery in favor of Corey Crawford, marking the first time this season a Blackhawks goalie was yanked from a game.
Edmonton kept on coming and scored a power-play goal at 12:39. Crawford made a stop on Nugent-Hopkins' shot but couldn't prevent Hall from chipping in the rebound from the doorstep.
The Oilers pushed the lead to 5-1 with 4:19 left in the first as Nugent-Hopkins made a nice feed on a 2-on-1 break to Eberle, who scored his fifth goal.
Emery returned to the Blackhawks net to start the second period.
The Oilers went up by five goals 5:32 into the second when Gilbert pinched in to score on Nugent-Hopkins' feed from behind the goal-line during a 5-on-3 power play.
The onslaught continued as Edmonton made it 7-1 with another power-play goal. Hall scored his second of the game on a rebound off the boards following Gilbert's shot.
Chicago got one back two minutes later on a power-play goal when Bolland's shot from the top of the circle caught a piece of Khabibulin and caromed in.
That didn't stop the Oilers, who built an 8-2 edge with one minute left in the second, scoring their fourth power-play goal when Horcoff slid the puck under a diving Emery.
The Oilers finished the outburst midway through the third when Hall used Steve Montador as a screen before firing in his third of the game, leading to a cascade of hats and a shoe from the stands.
NOTES: The Blackhawks beat the Oilers 6-3 last Sunday in Chicago in the first meeting between the teams this season. ... The Blackhawks played the third game of an annual six-game road trip caused by the circus coming to Chicago. It was the third game in for nights for the Blackhawks, who lost 5-2 at Calgary on Friday. ... The Oilers learned Saturday that defenseman Corey Potter is likely out for a month because of an ankle injury. Andy Sutton will miss up to 10 days due to a groin injury. The Oilers were also without Ryan Whitney and Cam Barker, meaning that four of their top six defensemen were missing from the lineup. ... Oilers C Sam Gagner returned following a back injury. ... Chicago forward Michael Frolik (shoulder) and defenseman Brent Seabrook, who missed his third game with a lower body injury, sat out. ... Chicago had won six straight in Edmonton, outscoring the Oilers 30-8 in that span.